Publish date:


In response to the President's staunch leadership, we must all roll up our sleeves, tighten our belts, suck in our guts and help defend the sanctity of our American sports clichés

Here are the answers to some of the most often-asked questions about Phase II of the President's freeze on Momentum:

Q. Will the President continue to keep controls on Momentum in sports during Phase II?

A. The President feels that Phase I of his Momentum freeze has brought the runaway Momentum factor down to a point where it can be checked. Nonetheless, he believes that further controls are necessary if we are going to reduce Momentum to a presummer 1969 level.

Q. Is that when Momentum began to get out of control?

A. Yes, all specialists agree that the attribution of Momentum to the Mets' championship drive was instrumental in moving it out of control.

Q. Are there figures to document this?

A. Yes, the President's Special Committee on Momentum cites statistics which show that, before 1969, Momentum accounted for only 26.3% of the sports victories in America. As recently as August 1971, Momentum had grown to account for 65.9% of the victories, and in especially important games Momentum had come to account for 94.8% of all victories. Even the Soap Box Derby victor attributed his win to Momentum.

Q. What are the evils of Momentum?

A. A modest rise in Momentum is not bad for a vigorous sports world.

Q. Oh, well then....

A. But we have entered a period of runaway Momentum, not only on TV but in the barrooms as well, which threatens the stability of all sports clichés.

Q. How is that?

A. When Momentum is credited for all success on the field, we find a recession in team spirit, defense, pitching....

Q. Normally 75% of any game.

A. As any schoolchild knows. Plus conditioning, will to win, meeting the challenge, offense, heart, depth, rebounding, hitting, putting, being real physical, sprinting, serving, back-checking, jabbing and playing them one at a time.

Q. You mean...?

A. Yes, sad to say, but the more that speculators deal in Momentum, the less confidence fans will show in other clichés.

Q. What about the turning point in the game?

A. With rampant Momentum, there can be no turning point, a loss for which we all pay dearly, fans and telecasters alike.

Q. Can we shore up the turning point in the game if we devalue Momentum?

A. Yes, that is the President's goal, and the specific reason that he placed the 10% surcharge on the home-field advantage. It is hard to build up Momentum without an unabashed home-field advantage.

Q. Will the 10% surcharge on the home-field advantage be removed if Momentum is brought under control?

A. That is the President's intention. He has made it perfectly clear that it was not his purpose to penalize cheerleaders and alumni.

Q. What means will the President employ to keep Momentum under check during Phase II?

A. The President has appointed a board, with representatives from management, the media and fandom.

Q. Who are the representatives?

A. Charles O. Finley, Chris Schenkel and Gus Fan.

Q. How will the board operate?

A. Anyone who wishes to attribute Momentum to a team must submit application. The board will then decide whether to grant permission. For instance, after the Philadelphia Eagles won their first game of the season recently, there were many petitioners from Philadelphia who felt the Eagles should have Momentum going into their next game.

Q. How did the board vote?

A. The board split 2-2, and without a clear majority the Eagles were denied Momentum rights.

Q. Wait a minute. How could the board split 2-2 if there are only three people on the board?

A. In keeping with his usual public stance, Schenkel gained the right to vote on both sides of every issue.

Q. Well, then, has any team recently been granted Momentum rights?

A. Yes indeed. By a vote of 3-1, the board gave a Momentum O.K. to the New York Nets.

Q. Why?

A. It was felt that the Nets truly earned Momentum since a whole calendar year had gone by without Rick Barry once jumping contract.

Q. During Phase I of the Momentum freeze, the President did waive all controls during the baseball championships. Will he do the same during the gridiron championship, and let Momentum float and find its own level?

A. That's highly unlikely. The President was extremely upset about how Momentum took off on a rampage as soon as the controls were waived during the diamond title tourney.

Q. What happened during this period?

A. A classic case of a Momentum binge. Both the Pirates' and Orioles' playoff victories were attributed to Momentum, as were the Orioles' first two World Series victories.

Q. But wait. I thought you said that it was agreed that the Pirates were also being carried by Momentum coming into the Series.

A. They lost their Momentum in Baltimore.

Q. Did the Orioles have Momentum going for them when they went to Pittsburgh for the third game?

A. Absolutely, everybody agreed.

Q. What was Pittsburgh's aim at this point?

A. To regain Momentum.

Q. Did they?

A. Yes. They turned the Momentum around.

Q. But then, what happened to all that well-documented Oriole Momentum?

A. It was sidetracked.

Q. For how long?

A. Not long. In the very first inning of the next game, Baltimore scored three runs and recovered its Momentum.

Q. And Pittsburgh lost its?

A. Temporarily.

Q. I don't understand. If Baltimore recovered its Momentum and Pittsburgh lost its temporarily, how did the Pirates ever win?

A. Young Bruce Kison came in to check the Oriole Momentum.

Q. Of course. And what happened then?

A. Then the Pirates stole the Oriole Momentum.

Q. The Orioles were glad to return to Baltimore, weren't they?

A. You bet. They hoped to pick up the same Momentum they had exhibited before.

Q. And the Pirates?

A. Well, of course, everybody knew the big question was whether or not they could retain the Momentum that they had uncovered in Pittsburgh.

Q. Well, what happened?

A. Frank Robinson's base running picked up the Oriole Momentum.

Q. Then the Orioles obviously had a big edge going into the last game?

A. No, remember that Steve Blass came into the game with Momentum too.

Q. You mean both teams were blessed with Momentum?

A. They were until Roberto Clemente hit a home run and blunted the Oriole Momentum.

Q. And when Jose Pagan doubled in another Pirate run?

A. That convinced the Pirates they had Momentum going for them.

Q. But the Orioles threatened and almost caught up.

A. Momentum ran out.

Q. If they had tied?

A. They had built enough Momentum.

Q. Of course. And if they had won?

A. Well, obviously, the Pirates could not hang onto the Momentum they had regained in Pittsburgh.

Q. Thank you.

A. You're welcome.

Q. Now, moving ahead. Surely the Pirates will start off next season with Momentum. Are there any other teams that the President's board is permitting to boast of Momentum?

A. As in Phase I, Momentum controls will not apply to any teams that had Momentum before the President declared the 90-day freeze. Thus, the Milwaukee Bucks, the Montreal Canadiens, UCLA and Avery Brundage will all be permitted to have Momentum going for them.

Q. What are the penalties for those teams that violate the freeze on Momentum?

A. They will be locked in a room-

Q. That's not so bad.

A. —until the next game is through.

Q. That's bad.

A. With only one microphone.

Q. That's not so bad.

A. Frank Gifford will be there.

Q. That's probably good and bad.

A. Don Meredith and Howard Cosell will be there, too.

Q. That's not so bad.

A. No, it isn't.

Q. So nobody can possibly win any games anymore in any sport anywhere without Momentum, can they?

A. Not anymore.

Q. Is Momentum spreading outside of sports?

A. Oh yes. That's one of the reasons that the President wanted to nip it in the bud. For instance, it's already a known fact that Muskie can win if he can only build up Momentum in the primaries.

Q. Yes, of course, because Teddy was robbed of his Momentum at Chappaquiddick and McGovern can never pick up any Momentum in the polls.

A. Right you are. And Betty Friedan and Bella Abzug are still trying to give Shirley Chisholm Mowomentum.

Q. Who else has Momentum?

A. A good question. Actually, many of the same people who have Momentum now used to have clout or charisma before that.

Q. Who are some of these people?

A. Well, Tom Jones certainly still has a lot of Momentum, and so do William Buckley, Allende, Ed McMahon, Casey Stengel, Flip Wilson, Jesus Christ Superstar and Henry Kissinger—although not necessarily in that order.

Q. But Spiro Agnew lost his Momentum.

A. Absolutely. And so did Ralph Nader. Andy Granatelli lost his Momentum, too, it seems, and so did Bernadette Devlin, Elliott Gould, Lester Maddox, Jimmy Breslin, Evel Knievel, Dennis Hopper, Huey Newton, Joe Namath and David Eisenhower.

Q. It appears that Momentum is overlapping into all sectors. What can a private citizen do to halt its spread?

A. At the first sign of Momentum gone berserk, call the local office of U.S. Momentum Control, or write or wire national headquarters, Box 1984, Washington, D.C.

Q. If we all work together as loyal Americans can we slow the rate of increase of Momentum?

A. Yes, we can make Momentum controls work, but only if we can gain some Momentum on our side in the fight against anti-Momentum.

Q. Thank you.

A. Right on.